Olympic Preservation Effort

An estimated 300,000 residents have been displaced by the Olympic building effort in Beijing. But a preservation ethic is slowly emerging

After building designs were revealed for the 2008 Beijing Olympics a few years ago, reports turned to stories of displaced local residents and the destruction of historic architecture as the city began revamping its infrastructure. A photo that recently made the front page of newspapers worldwide best captured the activity: a lone house standing defiantly amid a giant construction pit. Nicknamed the "Nail House," the diminutive dwelling finally succumbed to a backhoe on April 3—its owner, Wu Ping, joining the estimated 300,000 people who have been displaced by construction. But behind these dramatic scenes, a preservation ethic is gradually emerging. Some of the highest profile developments currently under way in Beijing preserve and incorporate old buildings.

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